Chapter 22: We Have Visitors
The noises. The bloody noises The bloody owl noises. The bloody own noises were going to drive her to the brink of insanity. It was no wonder why owls were kept in the owlrey at Hogwarts, safe from sleeping students' ears. Even cats at their worst weren't this bad. Eleven, soon to be twelve, year old Leila Potter groaned as she attempted to pull her pillow tighter around her ears to block out the noises Hedwig was making. She wished her brother, Harry, would tell his owl to shut it. But it wasn't like this was the first night of this. No, they had spent almost every night all summer like this. Leila couldn't take it anymore and she had no idea how much more of it Uncle Vernon would put with before murdering them.
"Harry," Leila groaned, but he didn't immediately respond. Somehow Harry managed to fall asleep every night with Hedwig's screeching. She had no idea how. So, she hissed her brother's name again. "Harry."
After a few seconds, Harry responded rather groggily, "What?" It was likely he had just fallen asleep despite all the ruckus, but now he was awake because of her. Leila felt a little bad about waking him up, but she couldn't keep doing this every blasted night until they escaped the Dursleys.
"Make it stop. Please for the love of Merlin, make it stop, Harry." Leila slammed her head against her pillow in frustration. This had become routine since returning to number four Privet Drive. A rather annoying routine.
Hedwig continued to screech and Leila groaned again. After a moment Harry grumbled, "She's bored, Leila. You know that."
"There has to be something you can do." Leila leaned over the edge of her bed and looked down at her brother, whose silhouette she could barely make out from the light of the moon. "Maybe you should give her a treat."
Harry sighed. "I'm running low on her treats."
"Well, maybe you should have bought extra treats before term ended." Leila looked at her brother pointedly, despite knowing that he couldn't see her facial expression.
He sighed again. "Because obviously I could have predicted that Uncle Vernon would lock all our stuff in the cupboard under the stairs and padlock Hedwig in her cage."
Leila sighed. "I'm just saying we should have predicted that he'd do something." "
"Well, at least we know for next summer," Harry said rather matter-of-factly, which was usually Leila's role. But being sleep deprived and paranoid about Uncle Vernon had her all out-of-sorts. Her attitude was rather pessimistic as of late, at least more so than usual.
The Potter girl groaned before she heaved herself back onto her pillow. She mumbled, "I'm not sure I'm going to survive that long. If Hedwig doesn't shut up, Uncle Vernon is likely to murder us any day now." She rolled onto her back and sighed as she looked up at the ceiling and the shadows played against it from the trees outside.
A lull came over the Potter twins and Hedwig too, thankfully. In the near silence, all Leila could hear was Roman scratching his claws against the desk and Dudley snoring from the other room. She probably should have scolded her cat, but he had nothing better to scratch his claws against. Roman must have pushed something to the ground because Leila heard a small crash. A few moments later, Roman pounded from the desk and onto Leila's stomach. She groaned in surprise before she reached down to stroke her cat. At least Roman hadn't been locked away too. He was normal enough for the Dursleys to be confined to the Potter twins' bedroom.
Leila had just closed her eyes when Harry bloody watch began to beep. She groaned. They were definitely doomed in the morning when they came in contact with Uncle Vernon. First Hedwig's screeching and now Harry's bloody watch. In fact, doomed seemed too pleasant of a term to describe what would be facing them in the morning. "Harry, shut that blasted thing off," Leila hissed at her brother.
"Leils, it's midnight," Harry responded.
"Exactly what does that have to do with Uncle Vernon murdering two eleven year olds in the morning?"
"Twelve, actually." Leila's brow furrowed in confusion as Harry went silent for a moment, silencing his watch, before he continued.. "Uncle Vernon will be murdering two twelve year olds."
The Potter girl blinked slowly taking in her brother's words. It was midnight...on July 31st. It was her birthday...and Harry's birthday. It was their birthday and they were now twelve years old. So much had changed in the last year. Why at this exact time last year, Hagrid pounded the door down on that little shack in the middle of the sea and told them of their magical heritage.
Leila quietly squealed for a moment before she carefully attempted to lower herself from the top bunk in the darkness. But Leila still hadn't mastered the art of climbing out of her bed in the darkness and she went falling to the floor. Cunch. She had landed on something. As she stood up, she brushed whatever it was off her before she fumbled to find the switch to the lamp in the darkness. After she nearly knocked the lamp off the desk, she did manage to turn it on.
"Gah! Leila!" Harry groaned shielding himself beneath his blanket. "What are you trying to do, blind me?"
She rolled her eyes at her brother before she glanced down at the floor and grimaced. She had landed on her brother's glasses, which lay on the floor snapped in half and one of the lenses had cracked. "Harry, I'm so sorry," Leila apologised.
"Sorry for what?" Harry asked pulling his head out from the blankets, squinting terribly at her. Harry was quite blind without his glasses.
Leila chewed her bottom lip for a moment. "I-I broke your glasses."
"Again?" Harry groaned, throwing his head back.
"Again," Leila sighed as she began to scour the room for something to fix Harry's glasses with, but their room was quite empty. The only things Uncle Vernon had allowed in the bedroom were the twins, their normal Muggle clothing, and their animals. Although, Leila had managed to sneak the photograph album from Hagrid in one of her dresses. It now resided beneath her pillow. But back to the matter at hand...fixing Harry's glasses.
Leila ran her fingers through her hair and tried to think of what to do. She then remember seeing a roll of duct tape in Dudley's room on her last trip to the loo. Leila had her suspicions that Dudley and his gang had died some poor defenceless youngster to a tree with it. The Potter girl groaned as she walked over to the door, weighing the pros and cons of sneaking into Dudley's room. While the cons were quite significant, Leila felt terrible about breaking her brother's glasses again. They were already taped in three different spots.
In and out. If she could be in and out without waking Dudley up, there would be no consequences. While she had a brief moment of doubt, she remembered facing You-Know-Who last month and despite his best intentions, Dudley wasn't anywhere near as terrifying as him. Slowly, Leila exhaled a breath.
If she was being honest with herself, she was quite paranoid that You-Know-Who had managed to find another host to parasite from and that he was already out there looking for her and Harry. While it seemed rather unlikely, especially given how long it took him to find his last host, it still worried her. In comparison, Dudley didn't terrify her nearly as much as he once had, but that didn't mean she could go about being careless now. Not when she still had to survive another month with the Dursleys.
Slowly, Leila opened the door just wide enough for her to sneak through so that it wouldn't creak. She then stood in the hall for a moment, listening to the snores echoing through the upstairs halls. The Dursleys were all asleep. That made her feel a little better about her mission, but navigating Dudley's messy bedroom was going to be it's own challenge. She had her slight photographic memory in her favour, but she was going to need a quick peek at the room first. Slowly, she brought her hand to the light switch and prayed a silent prayer that Dudley wouldn't wake. Quickly, she flipped the light on for a moment and took a mental snapshot of the room before she turned it off.
Leila then pressed herself against the hall wall, listening to make sure that Dudley hadn't woken. When his snores still continued, Leila pressed onward and tiptoed through her cousin's bedroom, careful to step over the objects she remembered on the way to his desk. When she reached the desk without tripping over anything, Leila breathed a sigh of relief and grabbed the duct tape before she tiptoed her way back. Thankfully, she was in and out just as she had planned.
When Leila returned to her bedroom, Hedwig once again began to hoot. Not wanting to take any chances with Uncle Vernon, Leila pulled up the floorboard where Harry kept Hedwig's treats and tossed one into the owl's cage. While she could tell that Harry wasn't too pleased about her wasting a treat, it did shut Hedwig up. Besides, it wasn't like there was really anything he could anyway as he sat on his bed practically blind.
Reaching for her brother's glasses, Leila repaired them the best she could. If only she had her wand, she could fix them. After last year, it was a spell Leila had been sure to learn, not wanting to be outdone by know-it-all Hermione Granger again. But given the way their summer was shaping-up, Granger was likely to get another shot at fixing Harry's glasses before Leila could even make an attempt. It wasn't fair.
Hermione Granger was one of her brother's best friends and one of Leila's arch enemies...or so the Potter girl like to think. Truthfully, it was just that Leila couldn't stand the Granger girl. She wasn't sure whether it was the girl's know-it-all attitude, the fact that she had bested her on nearly ever exam last term, or the fact that the girl had somewhat stolen Harry from her. Whatever the biggest reason was, Leila figured she had plenty of reasons to hate Hermione Granger. The feeling was quite mutual between the two girls, even after what happened last year, which was perfectly fine by the both of them.
Leila hastily wrapped some duct tape around the centre of Harry's glasses before she held them out for her brother to grab. 'This will have to do," Leila sighed, wishing she could do more, but knowing that she couldn't.
Harry reached for his glasses, but since he was seeing two pairs of glasses, he reached for the wrong pair. Leila slightly chuckled at her brother before she simply placed the bent-out-of-shape glasses on her brother's face for him. "You can hardly tell anything happened," Leila lied to her brother. But he knew she was lying because he shook his head and carefully ran his finger over the cracked lense.
Suddenly, Leila lunged at her brother and landed directly on top of him, causing the wind to get knocked out of him for a moment. Harry groaned as Leila sat on his stomach, her hair falling on her face. "Geroff, Leila," Harry groaned, reaching to push his sister off him.
Leila grinned and shook her head. "Not until you say it," Leila responded.
Harry arched an eyebrow and grinned back. "Say what exactly?" he teased his sister.
"Don't play dumb with me, Harry James Potter." Leila poked her brother's chest after each of his names. "You may be quite dreadful in the art of Potions making, but I know you happen to know exactly what to say to end your torment."
The Potter boy's brow furrowed. "You kinda sounded like Snape there."
Leila arched an eyebrow. "Wrong answer." She slightly picked herself up, removing her body weight from her brother's stomach before she plopped back down onto him, causing him to groan once more. Leila then smirked. "You were saying?"
"Happy birthday, Leila," Harry muttered before his sombre expression cracked into a smile.
"Harry birthday, Harry." Leila rolled so that she was beside her brother, between him and the wall. She snuggled close beside him, making herself quite comfortable. Almost like old times. While she had planned on staying awake and talking to her brother, her eyelids grew droopy before they closed altogether and she was soon asleep.
When Harry noticed his sister was asleep, he chuckled and pushed a stray hair from Leila's face. It was uncanny how much she resembled their mother. At least, what he had seen of their mother from his photography album. Harry smiled at her before he placed a kiss on his sleeping sister's forehead and then turned off the light. "Happy birthday, little sister," Harry whispered in the darkness before soon falling asleep himself.
In the morning, the Potter twins went downstairs for breakfast with the Dursleys. The look Uncle Vernon shot them as they made their appearance confirmed Leila's suspicions that he had been kept up most of the night, thanks to Hedwig. Leila cringed in fear as Aunt Petunia shoved her in the direction of the food, reminding herself not to say anything to upset them even more. She was sure the only reason they weren't dead yet was because Uncle Vernon was too tired from a night of restless sleep to do so. He sat at the table with his head in his hands as Leila accidentally burnt the bacon and toast. She was surprised they still hadn't learnt not to trust her in the kitchen.
When Leila brought the food over, Hedwig began to hoot again and it was then that she knew they were doomed. But being sleep-deprived didn't stop Uncle Vernon from yelling at Harry. "That's the fifth time this week! If you can't control that bloody bird, it'll have to go!" Uncle Vernon's face was quite red as he glared at Harry. Leila hoped her brother wouldn't make things worse. But she knew better.
"She's bored!" Harry argued as Leila nibbled on a piece of burnt toast. "She's used to flying around. If I could only let her out at night…"
"Do I look stupid?" Uncle Vernon snarled with a clump of scrambled egg attached to his mustache. While Leila answered yes in her head, she knew better than to say so out loud and she kicked Harry's shin to make sure he didn't say anything either. Thankfully, Harry's groan was masked by Uncle Vernon continuing. "I know what'll happen if that owl is let out." Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia exchanged glances. They knew sending owls was how witches and wizards sent their letters.
While the Dursleys were likely pleased about the situation, the Potter twins hadn't received a scrap of mail all summer. Neither of them, which Leila found quite suspicious. Leila's friends had promised to write her and she was sure Harry's had as well. And yet, nothing ever arrived for them. Leila couldn't help but wonder if maybe everything that had happened last year had been a dream. Sometimes, it almost seemed like it.
Dudley belched and announced that he wanted more bacon. Aunt Petunia smiled at her son and told him that there was more in the frying pan. She then went on to tell of her worries of how she worried Dudley wasn't being fed properly at Smeltings, despite the fact that Dudley so large that his bottom couldn't fit on the chair. Harry snickered and while Leila wanted to do the same, she delivered another kick to Harry's shins. She then glared at Harry knowingly and he rolled his eyes. While she didn't like the situation any better than Harry did, Leila at least attempted to keep the peace between them. Mostly because Leila knew they could make their lives even more miserable without even trying.
Leila nibbled on a burnt piece of bacon as Dudley looked between the two twins, deciding which one he wanted to torment today. While Leila knew it was a horrible thought, deep down, she hoped that he would pick Harry. But she didn't breathe much of a sigh of relief when he did. "Pass me the frying pan," Dudley commanded looking straight at Harry.
Without even thinking, Harry responded, "You forgot the magic word."
For a moment, everything seemed to stop. The disastrous effect one word could have on a group of people was mental. Dudley fell out of his chair, Aunt Petunia screamed, and Uncle Vernon immediately jumped to his feet. Harry hadn't even meant magic in that context. While with most Muggle families, the phrase was seemingly normal. But with the Dursleys, magic was the foulest of curse words one could mutter.
While Leila wanted to jump in and make the correction for Harry. She couldn't bring herself to do so. She already knew the consequences would be severe and she wouldn't be able to come out unscathed. So, she kept her mouth shut as Uncle Vernon began to verbally berate her brother.
Thankfully, as Uncle Vernon barked angrily at Harry, Harry sullenly backed down. Although, it took several kicks to the shins from Leila before he finally started to do so. With both of them quick to their tempers, one of them had to back down and Harry was the more rational of the two of them. Harry hung his head in defeat and Uncle Vernon appeared rather chuffed as he sat back down to his breakfast.
A few bites later, Uncle Vernon announced, "Now as we all know, today is a very important day…"
Harry and Leila exchanged glances. They knew better than to ever think that Uncle Vernon was talking about their birthday. No, the Potter twins' birthday never had any significance in the Dursley household. But it meant something to them and that was all that mattered.
"This could very well be the day I make the biggest deal of my career," Uncle Vernon said rather proudly before he narrowed his eyes and glanced between the Potter twins. "And you two will not mess it up."
Neither Potter twin said a word in response. Harry glanced down at his burnt toast and Leila bit her tongue. She once again was suppressing the urge to say something back. The last year had taught her to speak up a bit more, but she knew that it wouldn't do her any good as far as the Dursleys were concerned. So, she needed to keep her mouth shut. She needed to keep the peace for one more month. One more month until they were headed back to Hogwarts.
Uncle Vernon cleared his throat, "Is that understood?" The Potter twins knew it was directed at them. Harry and Leila glanced at each other before they looked at Uncle Vernon and slowly nodded their heads. "Good. Now, I think we should go over our schedules once again. At eight o'clock, everyone must be in position." Vernon glanced around with menacing eyes despite having heard no objections. He nodded his head stiffly. "Petunia, you will be-"
"In the lounge," Aunt Petunia said with a smile that didn't reach her eyes as she gestured toward the room where she would be. "Waiting to welcome them graciously to our home."
"Good. Good. " Uncle Vernon nodded his head and glanced at Aunt Petunia approvingly. He then glanced at his son. "And Dudley?"
Dudley straightened his posture at the table and forced an innocent smile on his face before he said, "I'll be waiting to open the door. May I take your coats Mr and Mrs Mason?" He pretended to take their coats and offered a nasty smile.
Leila couldn't contain herself. She rolled her eyes. Dudley noticed, but he was quickly distracted by his mother's praise and kisses. According to Aunt Petunia, the Masons were going to love Dudley and just eat him up. But Leila made sure to not allow another slip-up despite her contrary thoughts.
Uncle Vernon then focused on the Potter twins. "And you two?" he said rather threateningly as he sternly switched eye contact between the two of them.
Harry was quick to respond, "We'll be in our bedroom, making no noise and pretending that we don't exist."
"Things normal people do," Leila added, not sure if she meant her word in conjunction with Harry's or as an answer to Uncle Vernon's question. If she was honest with herself, probably both.
Uncle Vernon slowly nodded his head. "Exactly. I will not have you two messing this up." It was obvious that Uncle Vernon thought his biggest obstacle for the evening was the Potter twins. The Masons hadn't a clue that the Potter twins existed nor the fact that the Dursleys housed them. But that was perfectly fine with Leila. She had no intentions of meeting some stuff person whom Uncle Vernon did business with because any person who was interested in business with Uncle Vernon, in her book, was just as awful of a person. Not that she would ever say that...at least not to them.
With that, Uncle Vernon stood and announced that he needed to pick up his and Dudley's suit coats from the cleaners. Aunt Petunia stepped over and kissed his cheek before he left the house. Dudley moved to the lounge to watch television while Aunt Petunia shooed the Potter twins out of the house and to the back garden. "Stay out until I tell you," she said, slamming the door shut behind her.
"I'm surprised she's not putting us to work," Harry scoffed as he wandered toward a bench in the garden.
Leila shook her head. "She probably doesn't want us making more of a mess for her."
Harry smirked. "Like you did with breakfast this morning."
Looking rather affronted, Leila defensively shot back, "I didn't do it on purpose!"
"I know that." Harry ruffled his sister's hair as he laughed at her. She tried to push away from him, but he had his arm looped around her shoulder holding onto her tight. "Besides, it's her own fault for making you cook this morning anyway. She knows you can't."
Harry grinned and quickly quipped, "You're welcome."
Leila groaned and playfully pushed her brother away from her. She stumbled onto the grass causing her brother to chuckle at her as he walked away and sat down on the bench. Leila picked herself up and brushed off any stray blades of grass before she sat down beside her brother.
Harry glanced up at the sky and began to hum Happy Birthday not quite in tune, but Leila didn't tell him. She sighed and scooted closer to her brother, resting her head on his shoulder. "Definitely not as good as last year's birthday," she whispered to him, remembering Hagrid's appearance and their wonderful day in Diagon Alley.
"Definitely not," Harry agreed.
"You don't think Hagrid will gate crash this year to, do you?" She glanced at Harry. He chuckled and shook his head. Leila grinned. "No, I didn't think so either. But imagine the Dursleys trying to explain that to the Masons."
With her head still on Harry's shoulder, Leila looked at the garden hedges. A moment later, her brow furrowed when she thought she saw a pair of bright green eyes staring back at her. She opened her mouth to say something, but Harry's stomach growled and distracted her. When she glanced back where the eyes had been, they weren't there. Leila shook her head. Was she that desperate to return to the wizarding world that she was beginning to see things?
Harry's stomach growled again and Leila glanced at her brother sympathetically. "Sorry," she apologised. "If it's any consolation, I'm sure Dudley's still hungry too."
He chuckled. "Dudley's always hungry."
That made Leila laugh. But her laughter was short-lived as their cousin waddled toward them from the patio. "I know what day it is," Dudley sang, clearly taunting them.
"Did you hear that, Harry? Dudley knows what day it is," Leila said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. Dudley was the only Dursley Leila dared get sassy in front of and even then she didn't do it nearly as often as she would have liked. But with Aunt Petunia busy elsewhere and Uncle Vernon gone, she felt much braver than usual. Although in her defence it was far easier to direct her responses at Harry that were intended for Dudley...just in case she were ever caught.
"It's about time," Harry scoffed. "Only took him twelve years to learn the days of the week."
Leila smirked at Dudley before she turned toward her brother. "Now, now, Harry. Aunt Petunia has always said that Dudley's special." Leila then made sure to keep her back to Dudley, just in case Aunt Petunia glanced outside from the kitchen.
"Laugh all you want, but at least no one forgot my birthday," Dudley sneered as he stopped directly in front of the Potter twins with his arms folded, resting on his bulging stomach. "Unless of course you don't have friends at your freak school to forget you."
"You might not want to let your mum over hear you talking about our school," Harry retorted. That shut Dudley up for a moment, which made both Potter twins smile for a moment while Dudley recovered.
After a moment, Dudley hiked his trousers up and turned Leila around to face. "What's so bloody interesting about the hedges?" he hissed at Leila, who rolled her eyes and glanced at her brother.
It was Harry who responded, "If you had a brain, you might understand."
"Or an imagination," Leila added, somewhat slowly making a gesture of a rainbow with her hands before she looked at her cousin somewhat seriously. "Too bad you have neither, Dudders."
Dudley stammered to find the right words. All he could come up with was, "I-erm-don't call me that."
Pretty pathetic comeback in Leila's opinion, but Harry jumped in on the fun. "Don't worry, Duddykins," Harry grinned. "Leila and I can come up with some sort of spell to help you find your brain."
Dudley's eyes widened in shock at Harry's words. He slowly backed away from the Potter twins, clutching his rear end. His actions made Leila smile, remembering the tail given to him by Hagrid. Dudley began to shake. "You-you two c-can't. D-Dad said you're not to use m-magic," Dudley stammered. "D-Dad said he'll chuck both of you out of the house if you use m-magic."
"Harry!" Leila gasped, covering her mouth and feigning surprise. "Dudley just swore! Twice!"
"He really does need our help. It's time to find that brain," Harry responded, standing up and holding his arms out in front of him. "Leils, what was that spell again?"
Leila stood and folded her arms across her chest and smirked. "Was it Jiggery Pokery?"
"Might be. I'll try it." Harry wiggled his fingers in front of him and said, "Jiggery Pokery!"
The Potter girl giggled and took a few steps closer. "Hmmm, I don't think it worked, Harry. Maybe you should try another! Try Hocus Pocus! Try Hocus Pocus! "
Harry grinned at his sister and nodded before he took another step closer to Dudley, wiggling his fingers out in front of him. "Hocus Pocus! Squiggly Wiggly!"
Dudley screamed like a little girl as Harry's fingers grazed over his forehead, which made Leila double over in laughter. Even Harry couldn't contain his laughter when Dudley tripped trying to run away. Their cousin landed face first in a puddle of mud, still screaming. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get himself to his feet, Dudley ran into the house with mud dripping down his face. A few seconds later, Aunt Petunia's shrill screams came from the kitchen. A muddy Dudley was probably doing wonders for her near immaculate house.
There was a moment of silence before a seething Aunt Petunia emerged from the house with a soapy frying pan in her hand. "This can't be good," Leila whispered to Harry.
"She looks really angry," Harry whispered back to his sister.
Really angry was almost an understatement. Aunt Petunia came barrelling toward them, swinging her soapy frying pan as she shouted at them while the twins ducked her swings. Their aunt had to know they hadn't actually been doing magic, but that didn't seem to matter. Instead she forced both of them into doing chores with the threat of not eating again until they were finished.
Aunt Petunia purposely separated them, dragging Leila into the house with her while Harry was to do chores outside under Dudley's supervision. Dudley complained a little about having to watch Harry, but his only consolation was that Aunt Petunia gave him permission to give Harry a proper shove or two if he wasn't working fast enough. That seemed to satisfy him and there was no doubt in Leila's mind that Dudley was going to shove Harry anyway.
Leila's chores were all indoors. Her first task was to vacuum the stairs, which Aunt Petunia made her do twice. Then, she had to scrub the already clean floors, clean the toilets, dust Dudley's pictures, and many other menial chores. Her last chore was to set the table, but when she didn't set it properly, Aunt Petunia removed everything from the table and made Leila do it all over again because the bloody salad forks were in the wrong place. How was she supposed to know where the salad fork was supposed to go? It wasn't like she ever used one.
It was half past seven when Aunt Petunia finally relented and allowed the Potter twins to stop working. Their aunt allowed them to eat dinner on newspapers on the floor in the kitchen. Their meal consisted of a meagre cheese sandwich which both twins devoured after a hard day of chores. Although it hardly seemed fair compared to the meal Aunt Petunia had cooking. There was a pork roast sizzling in the oven, sides carefully simmering on the stove, and pudding with whipped cream and sugar violets on top the refrigerator. Leila felt quite envious, but she didn't say anything lest Aunt Petunia take away the pathetic cheese sandwich.
When Aunt Petunia shooed them out of the kitchen, Leila wished she could sneak the pudding upstairs with her. Leila Potter certainly had a soft spot for sweets. She wished for some sweets. It was then she remembered the contraband sweets she had snuck into their bedroom in her clothes. Sure, they were all the sweets given to her at the end of last term, but even if they were stale, they had to be better than that crummy cheese sandwich.
Leila then grabbed Harry's hand and dragged him to the stairs behind her. She wanted to give him the sweets she had been planning to give him as a birthday present. Harry released his sister's hand when they approached the stairs. He smirked at her and then raced her up the stairs and to their bedroom. Harry managed to twist the doorknob open but Leila pushed beneath him and beat him inside. Although, Harry tripped over her and landed on top of her causing both of them to crash to the floor.
Neither twin stood up. They lay there frozen watching a little creature with large, bat-like ears and bulging green eyes swinging from their bunkbed. The creature was giggling.
The Potter girl blinked slowly, "Harry. Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" she whispered.
"I think so,' Harry whispered back.
The creature grinned at the Potter twins and swung down from the bed, landing on the floor before it bowed low. It opened its mouth to speak, but the doorbell rang and Dudley's voice echoed down the hall. Harry closed their bedroom door with his foot before he stood and helped Leila to her feet. Once both the twins were on their feet they glanced down at the creature which was still bowing.
It was bowing so low that its long, thin nose was pressed against the hardwood floor. "Harry and Leila Potter, such an honour it is!" the creature squeaked. Leila noticed it was dressed in what resembled an old pillowcase with rips for arms and legs.
"What are you? " Harry bluntly questioned.
Leila elbowed her brother in the ribs and rolled her eyes. 'I think he means to say who are you?" she asked through gritted teeth.
"I's Dobby, miss," the creature said bowing toward Leila. "And sir." It then bowed toward Harry. He then stood with a toothy grin. "I's Dobby the house elf."
"What's a house elf?" Harry whispered toward his sister.
"I think they're creatures that work for wizarding families," Leila whispered to her brother. "Or so I gathered from what Daphne told me. They also work in the Hogwarts kitchens."
Harry's brow furrowed. "How do you know they work at Hogwarts?"
Leila rolled her eyes. "Did you even read Hogwarts: A History?" Her brow furrowed for a moment at how much she sounded like Hermione Granger at that moment. It almost scared her.
Harry groaned. "Now's not the time to discuss my reading habits. In fact it's not the best time to have a house elf in our bedroom!" Harry glanced at Dobby.
"Not to be rude or anything," Leila added, elbowing Harry in the ribs again. Harry retaliated by elbowing Leila back. She elbowed him again and he elbowed her again. This continued for nearly a minute.
Dobby's eyes went back and forth with each jab, until he finally interrupted. "Scusey! The creature squeaked, stopping both the Potter twins from their childish act. "Dobby understands...Dobby has come to tell you…" The creature stopped and hung his head for a moment. "It is very difficult, sir...and miss. Dobby wonders where to begin."
Leila made eye contact with her brother and nodded toward the chair. Harry nodded his head and then suggested, "Why don't you sit?" as he motioned toward the desk chair.
Dobby's eyes widened. "S-s-sit down?" Dobby squealed. Then in a move, neither Potter twin was anticipating, the house elf in the smallest bedroom at number four Privet Drive burst into tears. The house elf wailed and threw himself onto Harry's bed, causing the floorboards to creak.
Leila winced, knowing that they could likely hear what was happening downstairs. Harry tried his best to do some damage control, attempting to quiet Dobby, but it wasn't working. It also sounded like he could use a tissue, but they didn't have any. So Leila plucked one of Harry's dirty socks from the floor and handed it to Dobby for him to blow his nose. That made the house elf grow silent for a moment. Leila was just about to breathe a sigh of relief when Dobby began to wail even harder than before, clutching the sock close to his heart.
"What now?" Harry mouthed to Leila. Leila shrugged. She didn't have a clue what they were supposed to do, but she knew that if Uncle Vernon or the Mason's heard this...the Potter twins were doomed.
"Shhhh!" Leila said, attempting to calm their unwelcome visitor as she got down on her knees in front of him.
Harry followed Leila's cue and did the same, kneeling in front of Dobby. "We're sorry if we offended you or anything-" Harry started when Dobby stopped his sobbing and looked at the twins.
"Offend Dobby?" Dobby squeaked. "Dobby has heard of your greatness, sir...and yours too, Miss Leila. Well, more so Miss Leila. Lots about Miss Leila...but never has Dobby been asked to sit down by a wizard, like an equal...or given a gift from a witch, like a friend…"
Leila smiled softly at Dobby before she reached out and patted his arm. She then glanced at her brother. It was obvious he felt for the house elf just as she did. "You can't have met many decent wizards then?" Harry said lightly.
"No. I haven't," Dobby blurted out. His eyes grew wide like he realized he had made a mistake. "That was an awful thing to say!" Dobby then began to mutter to himself as he frantically paced the room. After a few paces, he started to bang his head against the floor. This was certainly not going to help matters with Uncle Vernon.
"Harry, do something," Leila hissed. Harry looked at his sister before he reached out and plucked Dobby from the floor. While hanging from Harry's hand, Dobby looked around the room with his eyes spinning, almost like they did in the Muggle cartoons.
"Are you alright?" Harry asked gently setting Dobby down on the floor.
Dobby glanced at Harry and hung his head a little, with his eyes still spinning. "Dobby had to punish himself. Dobby almost spoke ill of his family."
Harry's brow furrowed as he looked at Dobby. "Your family?"
"Harry," Leila groaned. "House elves are bound to serve one family forever. Right, Dobby?"
Dobby nodded his head. "That is correct, Miss Leila. And if Dobby's family ever knew he was here…" At that moment, Roman took the opportunity to pounce onto Dobby from Leila's bed. Dobby released another wail and began to run in circles. Leila chased after him trying to get Roman off Dobby's back, but her had dug his claws into Dobby's pillowcase.
"Just hold still," Leila commanded and immediately Dobby froze. She grabbed Roman by the scruff of his neck and pulled him from Dobby. "Bad kitty," Leila scolded. "You know you're only allowed to do that to Malfoy." Neither twin saw Dobby cringe at that name. Still holding Roman in her arms, Leila turned toward Dobby and apologised. "I'm sorry about that. I don't know what's gotten into him."
"Dobby is used to worse at home, Miss Leila." His eyes went wide once again and this time Dobby lunged for the bunk beds. He began smashing his head against the post of the bed, muttering to himself. Harry quickly walked over and peeled Dobby from their bed before setting him on his feet.
"Can you please tell us what you're doing here?" Harry asked as he released Dobby's pillowcase.
Dobby looked at both of the twins and sighed. "Dobby had to come. Dobby has to protect Harry and Leila Potter. To warn them. Potter twins must not go back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year."
Leila shook her head. "And stay here with the Dursleys? I don't think so," the Potter girl scoffed.
"We have to go back to Hogwarts, you don't understand," Harry added.
"There is a plot," Dobby began. "A plot to make most terrible things happen. If Harry or Leila Potter goes back to school they will be in great danger."
Leila's eyes widened as she slowly backed away from Dobby. His words scared her. What if Dobby was referring to You-Know-Who? What if You-Know-Who had found another person's head to leech from? Facing You-Know-Who had been her most frightening experience to date and the thought of facing him again was beyond terrifying. She wasn't sure she could handle another go with him. Leila was so lost in her own terrors, that she didn't hear what Harry said to make Dobby go berserk once more. Leila only heard his cries of, 'Bad Dobby! Bad Dobby!" She watched as he reached for an object on the Potter twins' desk.
"No! Not the lamp!" Leila groaned. But it was too late. Dobby tightly gripped the lamp and smashed it against his head. Harry lunged to grab the lamp, but he found that Dobby's grip was tighter than he expected. So the house elf and the lamp dangled from Harry's hand in front of the window.
Leila quickly ran over and closed the curtains shut. It was bad enough that the Masons were downstairs, but if one of the neighbours saw what was going on they would be sure to telephone Aunt Petunia which would only make things worse. But judging by Uncle Vernon's footsteps booming up the stairs, it appeared that they had already been caught. Uncle Vernon made some excuse about Dudley leaving his television on, but it was clearly a lie. Leila knew he was coming for them...and the house elf in their bedroom.
This was not good. Not good at all. What was Uncle Vernon going to think when he saw the house elf in their bedroom? The pace of Leila's heartbeat began to quicken. What to do? What to do? Thankfully, Harry had managed to think quickly as he plucked Dobby from the ground and shoved him in their wardrobe, just before Uncle Vernon made his entrance-the bedroom door bursting open to reveal an angry Uncle Vernon. "What the devil are you two doing up here?" he hissed, looking between the two Potter twins.
Harry and Leila glanced at each other hesitantly. "I-It's my fault, Uncle Vernon," Harry started. "I-I…" Harry stopped suddenly and glanced at Leila.
"He was tickling me and…" Leila started before glancing back at her brother.
"And she fell off her bed and…" The wardrobe door began to open. Harry stopped talking and lunged toward the door.
"Then you know me and my clumsiness. Oops?" Leila finished glancing up at Uncle Vernon innocently before she apologised, not because she was sorry but to try and appease her uncle's temper. "We're sorry, Uncle Vernon."
Uncle Vernon mulled her words over for a moment before he shook his head. "You two ruined the punchline of my Japanese golfer joke. One more sound out of either of you and you'll both wish you'd never been born."
Leila slowly nodded her head, glancing at the wardrobe which was slowly opening again, but Harry pounded it shut. "It-it won't happen again," she said with a fake smile plastered on her face. It was all part of her act. To make the Dursleys think she was actually sorry for the burden she placed on them...but they didn't have to know that.
"It had better not," Uncle Vernon said narrowing his eyes at Leila. With that, Uncle Vernon turned and waddled from their bedroom. Leila closed the door behind him just in time too, because Dobby escaped from the wardrobe. He bounced onto Harry's bed.
"See why I've got to go back? I don't belong here," Harry argued as he faced Dobby.
"He means we," Leila added, folding her arms across her chest as she took a few steps closer toward Dobby.
"We," Harry groaned, rolling his eyes. "We belong in your world-at Hogwarts. It's the only place in the world where either of us have friends." Leila sighed at the word friends. Merlin, she missed them.
Dobby looked at the Potter twins sheepishly as he jumped to the floor. "Friends who don't even write to Harry or Leila Potter?" the house elf questioned.
Harry's brow furrowed as Leila looked at Dobby curiously. "Well, I expect they've been…"
"Hang on a minute," Leila said interrupting her brother as she continued to look at Dobby. "How do you know that our friends haven't been writing? The only person whom I've told is Harry."
Harry must've caught on because he responded, "And Leila's the only one I've told."
Leila slowly circled around Dobby. She felt like she was interrogating him like in one of those Muggle crime show procedurals. "Granted, Dudley knows, but I highly doubt you're having tea to discuss our mail matters with Dudley. Which can only mean that…" Leila made eye contact with her brother and he shook his head. He did understand.
Dobby's eyes nearly doubled in size as he looked between the Potter twins before he slowly backed away from them. "You mustn't be angry with Dobby. Dobby hoped that if the Potter twins thought they'd been forgotten that they might not want to go back to school." With a rather guilty expression on his face, Dobby pulled two bundles of letters from his pillowcase dress. Dobby clutched them close to his body as Harry and Leila looked at each other with slightly angered expressions.
Harry approached the house elf first. "Give me those. Now," the Potter boy commanded.
"Yeah, hand 'em over," Leila added with her hand outstretched. Dobby shook his head. So, Leila tried a different approach. "Please?" she asked sweetly.
Dobby shook his head again. "Never!" he squealed as both twins reached for him. He quickly dodged them and jumped onto their desk. Harry and Leila chased after him, coming at the desk from opposite angles. They lunged to grab Dobby, but Dobby leapt into the air and onto Leila's bed as the Potter twins bonked heads.
The Potter twins groaned and rubbed their heads as Dobby attempted to shove their bundles of letters back into his pillowcase. Leila managed to scramble onto her bed but Dobby quickly leapt from her bed and landed Harry's back before he tumbled to the floor. Harry was too surprised by Dobby's actions that he didn't manage to catch Dobby before the house elf bolted out the door.
"Not good," Leila muttered to herself as she watched Roman escape the bedroom after Dobby. Harry followed after the house elf and the cat and Leila climbed down from her bed and followed after all of them into the hall. "Harry," Leila hissed when she saw him escape down the stairs. "Bloody hell."
For a moment, Leila paced in the hall. This was the last thing that they needed: a scene in front of the Dursleys. Uncle Vernon was going to kill them. But she wasn't going to stop anything up here pacing. No, she needed to go downstairs. Somehow, she managed to push herself to the stairs before she slowly crept down them, hoping Harry wasn't going to do anything stupid.
Leila heard Uncle Vernon tell the Masons that it was the cat making the ruckus upstairs. She heard Aunt Petunia ask if they were allergic, but from the sound of things, the Masons seemed rather fond of Roman. The fact almost calmed her. Until she remembered that there was a house elf running rampant somewhere downstairs. So, she took a deep breath and continued downstairs.
The Potter girl was about halfway down the stairs when she froze in fear with her eyes wide. "He did something stupid," Leila mumbled as she saw Aunt Petunia's pudding hovering midair above Mrs Mason's head. If only she had her wand she could have done something. But before Leila could make another move, the pudding fell onto Mrs Mason's head. The woman screamed which caused Roman to dig his claws into her.
Harry stood directly behind Mrs Mason with his hands in the air. At least he had been smart enough to give the appearance that he had done it and that the Muggles shouldn't suspect magic. Uncle Vernon began to spout of his apologies to the Masons, saying that his nephew was deranged and that meeting strangers upset him, which was why they kept him locked away. The Masons stared at Uncle Vernon blankly but they didn't run away, so maybe, just maybe Uncle Vernon could salvage the deal.
Aunt Petunia walked over and ushered Mrs Mason into the dining room to help her clean the pudding off. Uncle Vernon put Harry to work cleaning up the spilled pudding in the lounge. And just when Leila thought she was going to escape the situation unscathed, Uncle Vernon barked, "Girl, get down here and get your ruddy cat!"
Quickly, Leila ran the rest of the way downstairs and scouted for Roman. She found him licking pudding off Mrs Mason. Leila bent down and took her cat in her arms. "I'm sorry for Roman's behavior, Mrs Mason," Leila apologised sweetly. Mrs Mason looked down at Leila and smiled softly, which surprised her. But the moment didn't last long because Aunt Petunia barked for Leila to get back upstairs with Roman.
Leila looked at Mrs Mason again, who looked at the Potter girl rather sympathetically. Leila then stood up with Roman in her arms and was about to walk away when a huge barn owl swooped inside using the back door, which Uncle Vernon had left open.
Everything seemed to happen in slow-motion as the barn owl flew right over Mrs Mason's head and dropped a letter on top of the woman's pudding-filled hair. Mrs Mason began screaming like a bloody banshee as she tore the letter from her hair and flung it across the kitchen. Leila stood there with her eyes wide as the older woman came hurtling toward her. She barely had enough time to move out of Mrs Mason's way as the woman beelined straight for the door.
Mr Mason, who until this point had remained quite calm and understanding of the situation, began to spout off a string of words that should never be repeated. Leila deciphered that somewhere in that string of expletives that Mrs Mason was mortally afraid of birds. The man then followed his wife out of number four Privet Drive. Uncle Vernon followed after him, trying to convince him to come back inside. That it had all been a big misunderstanding. But when he came back inside the house alone, Leila knew his efforts had been fruitless.
Without saying anything, Uncle Vernon stormed past her and into the kitchen. He picked the letter up that was on the floor before he gruffly walked over to Harry and shoved it at him. "Read it, boy," Uncle Vernon hissed.
Harry rolled his eyes before he slowly opened the letter. He began to read the letter to himself, which only seemed to make Uncle Vernon angrier. "Aloud! Now!" Leila gulped before made eye contact with her brother and slowly nodded her head as she stroked Roman. That letter was going to get read one way or another. It was better not to make Uncle Vernon even angrier, if that was even possible.
Dear Mr H Potter and Miss L Potter
We have received intelligence that a Hover Charm was used at your place of residence this evening at twelve minutes past nine.
As you both know, underage wizards and witches are not permitted to perform spells outside school, and further spellwork on your part may lead to explusion from said school (Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcerty, 1875, Paragraph C).
We would ask you both to remember that any magical activity risks notice by members of the non-magical community (Muggles) is a serious offence under section 13 of the International Confederation of Warlocks' Statute of Secrecy.
Enjoy your holidays!
IMPROPER USE OF MAGIC OFFICE
Ministry of Magic
Leila bit her bottom lip as she tried to take in the contents of the letter. Clearly, the Ministry didn't know who had performed the charm because it was addressed to them both. They just knew that magic had been performed at number four Privet Drive, a Muggle residence. But Leila's thoughts didn't get to dwell long on the subject of underage magic, because Uncle Vernon exploded.
"WHY DIDN'T EITHER OF YOU TELL US YOU WEREN'T ALLOWED TO USE MAGIC AT HOME? SLIPPED YOUR MINDS DID IT?"
Not wanting Harry to say something that would get them into even more trouble, Leila tried to calmly explain, "We assumed you already knew. The decree was established in 1875 which means my mum wouldn't have been able to use magic when she went to school. Aunt Petunia…"
Leila didn't get to finish her words a balled fist struck her across the ear. She screamed and collapsed to the floor holding tightly to her ear as tears began to stream down her cheeks and her ear throbbed in pain. With tears blinding her vision, Leila looked to see Aunt Petunia standing behind her with balled fists.
"You ungrateful girl," Aunt Petunia hissed, shaking in anger. "After everything we've done for you…" Aunt Petunia brought her hand back to go in for another swing when Harry stepped between Leila and their aunt, armed with the mop in his hands.
"Leave her alone," Harry threatened, holding the mop up defensively, protecting Leila who still was doubled-over on the floor crying.
"Are you threatening your aunt, boy?" Uncle Vernon snarled.
"No, I'm protecting my sister," Harry hissed. "None of this was her fault. If you need someone to blame, then blame me. But I swear to God if you touch her again…"
Leila choked back a sob and said, "Harry, don't."
"Or you'll what, boy?" Uncle Vernon sneered. "Well, I've got news for both of you. I'm locking you both up and if either of you so much as think of magicking yourselves out, then they'll expel you for sure. Neither of you will ever see that school for freaks again! Never!"
Uncle Vernon yanked the mop from Harry's hands and tossed it to the floor, cracking the handle. Harry slowly backed toward Leila to protect her, but their uncle grabbed Harry by his collar before reaching down and yanking Leila by hers. He then dragged the Potter twins upstairs. Harry tried to put up a fight, but Leila simply cried and accepted her fate because she was in pain.
Once they were upstairs, Uncle Vernon shoved the Potter twins into their room. He sneered one last sneer and then slammed the door shut. Leila collapsed to the floor and curled-up into a ball, crying. Harry rushed to his sister and held her tightly as she attempted to stop her tears. He gently rocked her, noticing a slight cut on Leila's hairline where Aunt Petunia's nail had caught her. Not to mention that her ear was bright red and a little swollen. Harry knew that Leila had just been trying to diffuse the situation, but it should have been him.
When Leila had managed to calm herself, the Potter twins crawled onto the bottom bunk together. Leila wasn't ready to leave her brother just yet. Admittedly, she was scared that one of the Dursleys would come back in the night and she wanted Harry there to protect her. Harry let his sister curl up beside him and he forced himself to stay awake until Leila finally fell asleep.
True to his word, the next day Uncle Vernon paid a man to put bars over Harry and Leila's window. The Potter twins watched sullenly from inside as the man installed them. When he saw the Potter twins, the man didn't seem to care. He was doing it for the money. He couldn't be bothered to care about the two children inside.
Uncle Vernon installed a mail flap on their bedroom door and a lock that locked the door from the outside. It was almost like being back in the cupboard under the stairs only this time the room might have been bigger but a restless owl and cat made it seem even smaller. They were only allowed to use the loo once in the morning and once in the evening. They weren't even allowed out for meals. That was the purpose of the mail flap. It was just big enough to slip tiny meals through. Things had certainly gone from bad to worse.
Three days into their confinement, Leila wasn't sure how much longer she could go on living like this. Internally, she kept beating herself up over opening her mouth in front of Uncle Vernon. If she had never opened her mouth, then perhaps they would never have been in this situation. The one time she had actually attempted to stand up for herself and now they were living like this. It felt like it was entirely her fault. While she knew that she shouldn't bear the entire burden, that didn't stop her from doing so.
Of course, Leila didn't confide any of this to her brother. She already felt like he blamed her. He never spoke a single word of the incident, but Leila couldn't help but feel that he did blame her. Although, had she asked him she would have found that he blamed himself as well.
The third night of their prison sentence, Leila returned to her own bed. But she had a hard time falling asleep. At first, it was her thoughts that kept her awake. She wanted to see her friends again. She wanted to go back to Hogwarts. She wanted to see Daphne and Theo again, Fred and George, Cedric...hell, she would even put up with Malfoy for a time if she could just be free once more. Tears silently slipped down her cheek at her thoughts. She didn't want to wake Harry over them.
But then, a blinding light filled the room. Leila didn't think anything of it for a moment, but then she quickly sat up when she realised that a blinding light in the middle of the night wasn't normal. She pulled her hair behind her ear as she looked out the window curiously. Her eyes widened when she realised that the bright lights were coming closer...toward them. "Harry. Harry, wake up," Leila gasped.
"Just go to sleep, Leila," Harry groaned from below.
"Harry, I mean it. Wake up. There's something flying directly at us."
"I think being locked-up has gone to your head," Harry mumbled against his pillow.
"I'm not mental, Harry James Potter," Leila hissed. "Just look!"
Rather reluctantly, Harry rolled over and lifted his head from his pillow. He must have seen the bright light coming at them because he quickly reached for his glasses and pushed them on his face. He then crawled onto the desk and pressed his face against the glass. "It looks like a…" Harry started.
"Car," Leila whispered, half wondering if maybe she was going mental. But then she remembered that just about anything was possible in the wizarding world. It was at that moment she began to slightly tremble, her mind jumping to conclusions. Each one worse than the next. The worse being You-Know-Who was back to get them. Leila closed her eyes and braced herself for the worst.
Author's Note: And here is the start of Year 2! :) Thanks to everyone who has been supportive of this story! It means a lot to me. Also, with this chapter I have surpassed 1,000,000 words on ! Insane! Thanks to everyone who has read any of my writing. Again, it means the world to me! Also, I'm super excited to write Year 2 and wade into new territory for Leila! Ya'll got any theories? A big thanks to those of you who have reviewed!
Hoqwaarts: Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :) I hope you enjoy Year 2 just as much! :)
NCISWINCHESTERPOTTER: D'awww! Thanks! :)
Marshmallow Attack: I'm glad you liked it! :) I hope you will like Year 2.
Sparky She-Demon: Yeah, gotta give Leila some wedge between her and Dumbles! Lol.
Bsmiles123: I'm glad that you're enjoying Leila so far! :) I love Cedric too! Believe me! Haha. Year 2 is right here! Same story! (I have too many stories that I don't wanna confuse people! haha) Thanks for reading and reviewing!
Starrat: Yay! I'm glad you liked it! Hope you liked this one too! :)
Allen Pitt: Yup! Don't worry, there will be some addressing why Leila didn't write any of her Slytherin friends. She just hasn't seen them yet! Haha. Dobby stole her mail too! ;) And you'll just have to wait and see what happens as far as the barrier. ;) haha.
Saige Marie: D'awww! Thanks!
TheeAbominableSnowman; D'awww! That means a lot! I'm excited to see her grow too! :)
WaitingForTheLights: Thank you, so much! :) Here is more Leils!
Just a Lil Bit Country: Thank you! :)
CurseYouTinyToilet: D'awww! That means a lot, friend! :) I'm so glad you love Leils!
T.K. Roses: Yup! Haha. Here's another!
Drop Dead Gorgemous: Thanks! :)
Understanding the Inevitable: Thanks friend!
Skip4Now: Here's another one!
ColdAndBrokenHallelujah: D'aww! I'm glad you liked Cedric hugging her as much as I enjoyed adding it! Haha.
Superpsychonatural; Thank you my friend! Hope you like Year 2! :)
You'veGotMail24: Thanks for reading, my friend! :)
SOMEONE LIKE YOU: Thank you! :)
Erimenthe: Haha. I'm glad you thought that was a Ron-ish thing to do! Lol. We'll have to see if he meant it or not. ;) We will find out this "year" what Draco is up to! Haha.
Badwolffor3ver: I'm glad that you are enjoying this! :) Oh, I think you will enjoy how Leils deals with Lockhart! ;)
Still Shining in the Darkness: Thanks friend! I was mostly annoyed that they only reviewed after just reading the story summary. They didn't even give the story a chance because if they had Uncle Vernon wasn't even in the first chapter! Lol
Hidden Journey: Thank you! Oh for sure she will! :) Here's to writing Year 2! :)
DoYouSeeWhatIMean: Thank you! :)
Of Shadows on the Stars: Bahahaha! Oops! :)
SlytherinWinchester: Your review made my day, friend! I always love your insights! Hope you like Year 2 just as much! :)
5289belle: Yay! I'm glad you liked it! Here's the start of Year 2! :)
Dropping Off Secrets: D'awwww! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)
LikeSundayLikeRain: Thanks! :) Here's another one! :)
HarryPotterForever123: haha! I'm glad you enjoyed the Draco and Ginny parts! Here's to Year 2! :)
Always Keeps Fighting: Will do!
1seddiefan: They kinda tag-teamed things...about finding Dudley's' brain! Haha. As far as the gnome, you'll have to see. ;) Here to year 2! :)
Carry On Hallelujah: Thanks! :)
GinnyPotterr: Take as long as you need! I'm here for the friendships, not the reviews. ;) Although reviews are always appreciated! :) Right? It's been SO long! Lol. I'm glad you like Leila's friendships-and Cedric :( I know! Haha. Harry was pretty good to his sister this chapter! ;) Oh, yes! Leila is clueless anytime someone fancies her! Haha. Thanks for reading my story! It means a lot to me! :)